7 signs of warehouse racking collapse

7 signs of warehouse racking collapse

A racking system is the backbone of your warehouse, so maintaining it is crucial for your business. But one that is incorrectly installed or sustains damage due to impacts from forklifts can become unstable, causing it to come crashing down. A warehouse racking collapse is the last thing you want. It can lead to thousands of dollars in product damages and injury compensation payments if, God forbid, an employee is injured.

This means you need to make sure your racking system remains always in top-notch condition. A racking inspection can help identify structural damages and ensure it meets the local safety standards within your industry. However, several telltale signs can alert you that your racking system isn’t safe and could collapse soon. Here is a list of some things you need to watch out for.

Signs You’re Headed Towards a Warehouse Racking Collapse

1. Shaky Racking System

A racking system that is properly installed and maintained is stable and sturdy, enabling it to support heavy product loads. It will not vibrate or wobble when pushed.

Your racking system may become unstable due to multiple reasons, such as improper installation, overloaded racks, uneven weight distribution on the shelves, damage due to impacts from forklifts, lack of adequate anchor braces, or environmental factors. If you notice that the structure becomes shaky, it’s a sure sign the integrity of the racks has been compromised, and the system is under significant stress. So, you need to address the situation immediately before a structural racking failure occurs.

2. Crooked Racks

A properly installed rack is vertically upright and secure. A crooked rack suggests racking components, such as beams, uprights, or connectors, may have been damaged or shifted from their original position.

A pallet rack leaning backwards or laterally can put stress on the beams and shelves. This can lead to uneven weight distribution, possibly causing the merchandise to slide or fall off the shelves. Not only do misaligned racks make it challenging for your staff to access the products, but they also compromise the safety of your employees, equipment, inventory, and your entire racking system.

3. Bent Shelves and Beams

A small amount of bowing in the shelves and beams is expected when the rack is loaded with heavy merchandise. However, it should disappear when the lead has been removed. If the shelf bows more than 1/180th of the total length in the middle and the deflection does not go away, your shelves and beams need immediate attention.

Overloading the shelves, loading them incorrectly, forklifts damaging the racks, or poor beam-to-upright connections can cause a shelving collapse or the beams to bend, warp, and fail. So ensure your loads are uniformly distributed and train your employees to follow safe storage practices.

4. Anchors are Dislodged

Pallet rack anchors are important components of your racking system. They help stabilize a rack structure, offering resistance against a pallet rack collapse. Furthermore, they provide additional support at the base, helping to keep your racks in an upright, safe position.

If anchors are not used in a racking system, you should consider anchors to securely attach your racks to the floor. Ideally, every rack should have at least one anchor per column. However, the more anchors there are, the better.

More importantly, if you find that the anchors have been dislodged, you should investigate why this happened.

5. Missing Beam Connectors

The beams and uprights of your racking system must be securely connected with security clips, bolts, tab pins, etc. If you notice inadequate connections or connectors that keep dislodging, they are red flags, indicating a potential warehouse shelving collapse.

Adding more connections can make your system safer and more rigid. For instance, if you are utilizing teardrop racks with rivet connections, consider using safety clips for added protection. On the other hand, if you are utilizing bolted beams, use three or more bolts per connection to strengthen the joint and offer more structural rigidity. What’s more, these simple steps make your racking system more impact-resistant and increase its load capacity.

6. Rust and Corrosion

Over time, steel racks can begin to rust when exposed constantly to moisture in the environment or the chemical products you store. The rust can begin to eat away the structure, weakening and degrading it over time. So, ignoring these initial signs of corrosion and decay can lead to costly issues in the long run.

7. Damaged Column Protectors

Column protectors create a barrier around your racking system, safeguarding against accidental impacts from forklifts. They also help drivers maintain a safe distance while maneuvering around the racks. This prevents the structure from getting damaged due to accidents.

If a column protector acquired considerable damage from a forklift collision, you should check the surrounding structure to see if it has been damaged as well. Proactively checking for dents can help reduce the chances of a racking system collapse.

Final Words of Advice

If you want to prevent a warehouse racking collapse, due diligence is required to make sure your racks are always in good condition. You may find some issues harmless, but they could quickly worsen, leading to undesirable outcomes. One of the best ways to ensure your racking system is stable and safe is to have it inspected regularly, especially after incidents that could have caused damage to the structure, such as a forklift crash or an earthquake. Hire an expert warehouse rack inspector to conduct rack inspections at least once a month. They will have adequate knowledge and experience in structural engineering and inspection techniques relevant to different warehouse racking systems.

Over to You

If you notice any of the above mentioned signs, it means your warehouse racking system needs attention right away. The structure has become unsafe, and a warehouse racking collapse is imminent.

That’s why we recommend you invest in a racking system from a renowned company like us. At Midwest Distribution, we have years of experience developing high-quality, durable metal products for various industries. Moreover, we offer a full range of cost-effective racking and storage solutions in bulk. Partner with the right company from the get-go to ensure your company starts on the right foot.


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